POST’ing in a virtual machine

A long, long time ago – Virtual PC was originally developed on the Macintosh.  For this market the team at Connectix did a lot of work to reduce the time for the virtual machine to ‘POST’ (this stands for Power On Self Test – and is the black and whit text screen you see when you first boot a computer).  The reality is that the vast majority of time spent in POST is waiting for hardware to initialize and respond.  Given that virtual hardware initializes almost instantaneously, Virtual PC for Macintosh’s POST time was reduced to under a second where just a black screen was displayed.

This was very useful for the Macintosh market where users were not used to seeing the POST screen on a computer.  However – when we first released Virtual PC for Windows we were constantly hearing feedback from users that we ‘were not emulating a complete computer / real computer’.  This confused us to say the least – and after lots of investigation we found out the real problem.  People could not see a POST – and to PC users this made the whole virtual machine seem less authentic.  So in Virtual PC 5.0 we decided to not speed through the POST – but to take our time and let the world see it – and users have been happy ever since 🙂